Mette Towley is a New Kind of Breakout Star

Dancer, Choreographer, Actress, Musician
Mette Towley

Deep in the San Fernando Valley, Mette Towley is sitting barefoot on a red velvet couch in a shed turned music studio; an oversize silk shirt hangs loosely from her curvy frame, and a single diamond earring dangles from her ear. A producer who goes only by “Jimmy” has just stepped out of the early-evening session, in which he and Towley have been working on songs for her first-ever EP, due this spring. Since 2018, Towley has been spending more time in London, where she filmed Cats—the musical motion picture directed by Tom Hooper, out in December. But when she is in Los Angeles, she can typically be found in a studio like this one—often after a morning workout at Modo Yoga or Bünda (“Home of the better butt,” according to its website). “I think I’ve always been more interested in the process than anything else,” explains the barefaced 28-year-old, who has dark, short hair and broad shoulders—40 centimeters across, which is unusual for a dancer, she tells me. Towley is referring as much to the music she’s making as to the last two years of her life, which got her here in the first place.

A Minnesota native who studied American modern dance and dance theory, Towley moved to L.A. in 2013. “I auditioned for everything—cruise lines, private parties,” she recalls. She landed gigs as a backup dancer, most notably in 2014 with Pharrell Williams, with whom she toured for more than four years. When Rihanna shaved Towley’s head in the opening scene of N.E.R.D and Rihanna’s 2017 hit video “Lemon,” Towley officially arrived. She was the standout star, delivering a viral performance that dripped with expression, strength, and swagger. She toured globally with N.E.R.D the following summer, and those signature moves earned her her own fan base, not to mention a Revlon contract, a string of high-profile choreography gigs, and a big dose of confidence. “I just finally believed in myself,” Towley says. Read on...

Mette Towley graduated the University of Minnesota Twin Cities in 2013 with a double major in Dance and Cultural Studies and a Political Science minor

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